Essays: Patrick Smith |
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Patrick Smith

Airbus behemoth: on not loving the Airbus A380

Ever since childhood I have been interested in aircraft. My original ambition was to be an aeronautical engineer, but the world was luckily saved from the consequences of my ambition being fulfilled. Though it took me time to realise that my interest was more aesthetic than technical, the passion was always there. In my book Unreliable Memoirs I recounted how, when still in short trousers, I fell in love with an airport. It was Kingsford-Smith airport in Sydney and I swooned with pre-pubescent admiration for the sinuous lines of the Lockheed Constellation, the Ava Gardner of the skies. Later on, my book Flying Visits was one long hymn to the Boeing 747. I suspect that Patrick Smith, a professional airline pilot and the author of this article on the Airbus A380, shares my sensual proclivities, otherwise he would not dislike the new monster almost as much as I do. Even had he admired it, however, his article would remain a prime example of how to write about technology. Largely it’s a matter of keeping the thrill going while you go further into detail. Patrick Smith also writes the consistently fascinating “Ask the Pilot” feature for the on-line magazine Salon. One particularly informative instalment focussed on people who are nuts about airliners, but I leave you to find the piece for yourself. Too dangerous to recommend, it contains a profusion of hair-trigger live links to, a site into which people have been known to enter and never, ever, come out.

Read Patrick Smith's article “Airbus Behemoth leaves room for improvement.